Attorney Charged with Diverting Escrow Funds

Allison Tussey —  November 4, 2011 — Leave a comment

Daniel S. Braese, 47, North Andover, Massachusetts, an attorney, was charged in federal court with diverting mortgage loan funds from real estate closings.

Braese was charged in an information with two counts of bank fraud and one count of making false statements in connection with Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance.

The information alleges that Braese, in acting as a closing attorney for real estate transactions, received mortgage loan funds from lenders, which were to be held in his attorney trust account and used for the closings. As closing attorney, Braese was responsible for using the loan proceeds to pay off the existing mortgages on the properties. It is alleged that, instead of paying off the existing mortgages, he diverted the mortgage funds to other purposes and falsified the loan closing documents to conceal his misappropriation of the funds.

If convicted on these charges, Braese faces up to 30 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release and a $1 million fine on each of the bank fraud charges. He also faces up to two years in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the false statement charge.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Cortez Richardson, Special Agent in Charge of the Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General; and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Levenson of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Mortgage fraud is a key focus of the Department of Justice. The Department, alongside its federal, state, and local partners, is committed to investigating and prosecuting significant financial crimes and to combating discrimination and fraud in the lending and financial markets, and recovering proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

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Allison Tussey

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